nb-donnie-snook

Donnie Snook, who remains in jail, is expected to enter pleas on March 11. (CBC)

Search warrants related to the investigation of former Saint John councillor Donnie Snook will be released to the public within a week, but some of the information will likely be blacked out.

The four warrants, executed in the days following Snook’s arrest on child exploitation charges, have been under a sealing order, imposed by the courts.

But Provincial Court Judge Alfred Brien ruled on Friday they should be unsealed after considering an application by Brunswick News Inc.

The judge has given the police and the Crown seven days to review and redact any sensitive material.

If the media outlet is not satisfied with the amount of information released, it can file another challenge, Brien said.

Dennis Boyle, Snook’s defence lawyer, did not object to the application.

Sealing order too broad

Search warrants are normally public documents once they've been executed.

Police had requested the warrants be sealed to protect the identity of any alleged victims and to "maintain the integrity of ongoing investigations and investigative techniques."

Judges Henrik Tonning and William McCarroll, who had issued the sealing orders, felt releasing the information would "raise a substantial likelihood that the ends of justice would be subverted."

But Nancy Rubin, the lawyer representing Brunswick News, had argued the sealing order was too broad.

"The sealing of the entire information to obtain the warrants and of the application for orders denying access to information cannot be justified," she stated.

Snook, 41, is facing eight child exploitation charges after members of the RCMP's Internet Child Exploitation Unit raided his east side bungalow on Jan. 9.

He is expected to enter pleas on three counts of touching a child for a sexual purpose, one count of making child pornography, two counts of distributing child pornography, and two counts of possession of child pornography on March 11.

Police have said they seized computer equipment and child sexual abuse images during the search and are currently investigating several new sexual abuse allegations against Snook.

The warrants in question were issued on or about  Jan. 9, Jan. 10, Jan. 15 and Jan. 18. At least one of them is related to information filed by a member of the Saint John Police Force's family protection unit in 2009.